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\BOUTTHi; COVER; Mournin- .Lac I'.ssav <>ii |.ayc i I . ' Jolni H. I'ur.l 

Executive Director 

For me, September marks the end of summer and the IdckofF 
of many fall hunting and fishing opportunities! The prom- 
ise and anticipation of days afield with friends, both two-legged 
and four-legged, in pursuit ot doves, ducks, deer, and wild 
turkeys is something to be savored. Time seems to pass more 
quickly in the fall, as events of the summer fade away like so 
many spent plants in the garden ready to be laid by. Anticipation, 
participation, and reflection all play a pan in realizing the joys of 
autumn's special time clock. 

I truly enjoy dove hunting, both the thrill of the hunt and 
the social aspect of sharing the hunt with others. You won't want 
to miss what our friend Luke has to say about these social occa- 
sions in his column on page 31. There is great satisfaction in 
watching well-trained dogs, and even inexperienced young pups, 
doing what they were bred to do and enjoying every minute of it. 
My brother Gordon's little Boykin spaniel is an absolute joy to 
hunt with — and my brother's not bad either! 

When I look back, I cannot help but smile remembering my 
first "dove" gun. It was a long barreled 1 2-gauge with a fiiU choke, 
which gave way to a Remington 870 pump-gun, which ultimate- 
ly gave way to an over and under. I also fondly and very vividly re- 
call those days spent hunting squirrels with my grandfather in 
southwest Virginia during the September squirrel season, when 
both grays and fox squirrels would be cutting hickory nuts. We 
hunted with .22 rimfire rifles and Granddad insisted on precise 
shooting. Those times passed all too quickly! I have over dme be- 
come more concerned with how I shoot than with how oft:en! 

Of course fall fishing should not be overlooked. One of the 
best times I ever had on a trout stream was at Whitetop Laurel 
Falls on Veterans Day in November. This season is a superb time 
to check out one of the many lakes or streams accessed by our De- 
partment fishing piers. 

I guess one of the greatest appeals of hunting and fishing to 
me is the uncertain outcome. No one knows when that next state 
or world record catfish will be caught or that trophy buck taken. 
While opportunities abound for quality, maybe more important- 
ly for most of us is just the simple pleasure of getting out in the 
woods, fields, marshes, and rivers of this great state. We share 
high expectations knowing that nature is, in my opinion, "the 
greatest show on Earth!" So I encourage you to take the time to 
experience what Virginia has to offer. 

Here's wishing you safe and fiin fall adventures, all starting 
with the special month of September! 


To manage Virginia's wildlife and inland fish to maintain optimum populacions ot all species tcj serve the needs ot ihe Cx>mmonweal[h; To 
provide opportunity for all to enjoy wildlife, inland fish, boating and related outdoor recreation and to work diligently to safeguard the rights 
of the people to hunt, fish and harvest game as provided for in the Constitution of Virginia; To promote safety tor persons and property in 
connection with boating, hunting and fishing; To provide educational outreach programs and materials that fo.ster an awareness of and appre- 
ciation for Virginia's fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities. 

Dedicated to the Conservation of Virginia's Wildlife and Natural Resources 

VOLllMh 72 

NUMBliR 9 


Bob McDonnell, Governor 


Subsidized this publication 

Douglas W. Domenech 



Bob Duncan 

Executive Director 


Lisa Caruso, Church Road 
J. Brent Clarke, III, Great Falls 
Curtis D. Colgate, Virginia Beach 
James W. Hazel, Oakton 
Randy J. Kozuch, Alexandria 
Mary Louisa Pollard, Irvington 
P. Scott Reed, Jr., Manakin-Sabot 
Leon O. Turner, Fincastle 
Charles S. Yates, Cleveland 


Sally Mills, Editor 

Lee Walker, Ron Messina, Julia Dixon, 

Contributing Editors 
Emily Pels, Art Director 
Carol Kushlak, Production Manager 
Tom Guess, Staff Contributor 

Printing by Progress Printing, Lynchburg, VA. 

Virginm Wildlife (ISSN 0042 6792) is published monthi;, _ 
by the V^irginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Jij 
Send all subscription orders and address changes to Virginii 
Wildlife, P. O. Box 830, Boone, Iowa 50036. Address ! 
other communications concerning this publication to Vir 
ginia Wildlife, P. O. Box 1 1 104, 4010 West Broad Sirttt 
Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104. Subscription rates an 
$12.93 for one year, S23.95 for two years; $4.00 per caci 
back issue, subject to availability. Out-ol-country rate i 
$24.95 for one year and must be paid in U.S. funds. No re 
funds for amounts less than $5.00. To subscribe, call toll 
free (800) 710-9369. POSTK4ASTER: Please send al 
address changes to Virginia Wildlife, PO. Box 830, Boone 
Iowa 50036. Postage for periodicals paid at Richmond, Vir 
ginia and additional entry offices. 

Copyright 201 1 by the Virginia Department of Game an« 
Inland Fisheries. All rights reser\'ed. 

The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries shall aflfori 
to all persons an equal access to Department programs an< 
facilities without regard to race, color, religion, national ori 
gin, disabilit)', sex. or age. If you believe that you have beei 
discriminated against in any program, activity or facilii 
please write to: Virginia Department ot Game and Inlani 
Fisheries, ATTN: Compliance Officer, (4010 West Broa< 
Street.) P. O. Box 1 1 104, Richmond, Virginia 23230-1104 

This publication is intended for general informational purl 
poses only and every effiurt has been made to ensure its acl 
curacy. The information contained herein does not serve i 
a legal representation offish and wildlife laws or regulation^ 
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fishcties do 
not a.ssume responsibility for any change in dates, regulal 
tions, or information that may occur after publication. 



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are studying 

the effects of 

heavy metals on 

this magnificent 


by GlendaC. Booth 



B .,.,„..„.. 
doubt puzzled when 
human eyes peer into 
their nest and even more 
baffled by a sudden trip to terra firma, tucked 
into a dark canvas bag. This spring, Jeft Coop- 
er, wildlife biologist with the Department, 
and David Kramar, project associate and re- 
search faculty at Virginia Tech's Conservation 
Management Institute, climbed trees as high 
as 100 teet and toted bald eaglets between 
tour and seven weeks old to the ground. 

Cooper and Kramar think the newborn 
eagles are telling us something ;md they are 
trying to find out what. Tliey are studying in- 
land eagle nesdings in the Virginia counties of 
Louisa, Page, Prince William, Shenandoah, 
and Madison. 

Bald eagles typically lay one to two eggs 
early in the year. White flufiy chicks usu;illy 
hatch in late March to early April. At tour 
weeks, they begin to get brown feathers. At 
seven weeks, they are almost the size of an 
adult eagle and weigh seven to nine pounds. 

Wearing spikes, the climbers "move up 
slowly and deliberately," emphasizes Cooper, 
ascending sycamores, oaks, loblolly pines, 
white pines, and tulip poplars. They tie in 
with a lanyard under the nest, throw lines 
around a strong branch, and rope-climb up 
until their armpit or chest are level with the 

How do the unsuspecting young avians 
greet these strange visitors? "ITiey just stare at 
you," chuckles the biologist. "Some wiggle 
over to the nest edge. Some may lunge. Some 
squat. They don't have the strength to fight 
back," he explains. 

1° Accessing an eagle's nest requires good ropes, 
?, climbing ability, and nerves of steel. 


The climbers gently hook the chick's 
talon, secure the bird with their hands, put it 
in a bag, and descend. On the ground, they 
put a hood on the chick. 

The ground crew snaps on two bands, a 
purple individual identifier indicating that 
bird was banded in Virginia or the Chesa- 
peake Bay, and a silver federal band with a 
telephone number for reporting to the U.S. 
Geological Surveys Bird Banding Laboratory. 
With a vacuum tube, they take six cubic cen- 
timeters ot blood trom a vein at the chick's 
elbow. They then measure the bill, wing, rear 
talon, and bottom leg bone and weigh the ea- 
glet and return the bird to its "home. " 

Cooper and Kramar's work is focused on 
inland Virginia, where they say as much as 25 
percent of the state's bald eagle population 
may reside. William and Mary scientists led 

The study of eagles relies 
in part on re-sighitings. If 
you spot a banded eagle, 
report it here 
virginiaeagles/index.htm or call 
800-327-2263. Report the band 
number, how, when, and where the 
bird or band was found. 

by Bryan Watts, director of William and 
Mary's Center for Conservation Biology, 
study bald eagles in the state's coastal plain, an 
area that has one of the densest eagle popula- 
tions in North America, according to Cooper. 

Why Do This? 

Department (DGIF) biologists are analyzing 
the extent, distribution, and availability of 
heavy metals — the impact of contaminants in 
the environment — especially mercury, from 
atmospheric deposition. Kramar started in 
2006, when little mercury research on "Vir- 
ginia eagles" had been done, unlike most 
other East Coast states. 

Because mercury bio-accumulates, ani- 
mals high on the food chain end up with 
higher concentrations than other animals 
lower down. Bald eagles have a heavy fish diet 
and thus accumulate a lot more mercury than 
many other birds, including golden eagles 
that are more terrestrid. 

Kramar is developing a Virginia mercury 
"hotspots" map to show risk areas with high 
mercury concentrations, which he hopes to 
complete in the near future. The "hottest" 
spot for which he has samples so far is the 
Shenandoah River. He's also found "hot" 
areas along the James River near Lynchburg. 

A Mercury Primer 

Atmospheric mercury reaches earth 
through rain, snow, and dry deposition. 
In water, it transforms into methyl-mer- 
cury, builds up in fish tissue, and accu- 
mulates as it moves up the food chain. 

Coal-fired electric power plants ac- 
count for about half of manmade mer- 
cury emissions. Other sources are 
industrial boilers, steelmaking furnaces, 
and the burning of hazardous, medical, 
and municipal waste. 

Mercury can alter fish develop- 
ment and reproduction. Every state has 
issued health advisories warning of po- 
tentially harmful mercury levels in fish. 
The Virginia Department of Health's 
(VDH) website says, "While most Vir- 
ginia waters do not have dangerous lev- 
els of contaminants, sometimes the fish 
in certain waters are found to contain 
chemicals at levels of concern." VDH lists 
several rivers and water bodies that 
have an advisory for mercury. For exam- 
ple, VDH advises eating no fish from the 
North Fork of the Holston River and to 
avoid carp or channel catfish from the 
South Fork of the Shenandoah River and 
all fish except trout from the South River. 

An eaglet is lowered in a bag via a pulley system. Once on the ground, the bird w/ill bequickly measured, w/eighed, and banded; then 
returned to the nest. 



to Recovery 

The bald eagle's rebound is one of North 
America's greatest success stories. In 
1963 in the lower 48 states, there were 
only 417 known nesting pairs, numbers 
that earned the bald eagle a federal en- 
dangered listing. After a ban on DDT and 
other steps, by 2006 there were almost 
10,000 known nesting pairs. The federal 
government "delisted" the bald eagle in 
2007. (But several protections remain.) 
In Virginia, bald eagles have gone 
from 30 breeding pairs in the early 
1970s to more than 680 pairs in 2010. 
William and Mary's Centerfor Conserva- 
tion Biology maintains one of the largest 
eagle tracking projects in the world. 

Blood samples can indicate prey eaten 
over the two weeks prior to the collection and 
show how much mercury came from a partic- 
ular food source. Juvenile feathers also can 
show mercury that a bird has accumulated 
since it hatched. Through spatial statistical 
models, Kramar can relate what he's finding 
to what is happening on the ground: condi- 
tions like land cover, land use, and soil type. 

Cooper and Kramar also check the ea- 
glets' blood for lead, which Cooper calls "a 
growing issue with many species. " They are 
trying to determine baseline levels to evaluate 
threats posed by lead. Potential sources are 
lead shot, bullets, and sinkers. Eagles may in- 
gest lead from fish or mistake pieces of lead 
for food. 

Maria Wheeler, a Duquesne University 
Ph.D. smdent, is also working with the scien- 
dsts on genetic variation in eagles, looking at 
differences in males and females. Cooper and 
Kramar make "educated guesses" about the 

eaglets' gender. Wheeler determines it accu- 
rately through genetic testing. 

What Have They Learned? 

Kramar has reached several preliminary con- 
clusions. Levels of mercury among eaglets in 
Virginia's coastal plain are around .02 parts 
per million (ppm), what he calls a low level. 
His highest recorded levels so far are .89 ppm. 
When levels are above .6, "You need to have a 
little concern," he explains. "You are starting 
to approach levels that the literamre shows 
can have detrimental effects on breeding, 
productivity, brooding, and foraging." 

Freshwater environments near single, 
identifiable sources like power plants with a 
mix of forests and fields are more susceptible 
to mercury production than lands that pro- 
duce crops. Mercury tends to be low in saline 
environments, with levels rising as you move 
inland. Lake environments have some of the 
highest levels. 

Kramar stresses that in adult eagles the 
effects of contaminants cannot always be de- 
tected visually, and therefore, long-term 
monitoring is needed to understand behav- 
ioral changes. Studies show that mercury in 
loons causes under-incubation of eggs and 
changes in brooding behavior. For juvenile 
eagles and loons, if there are higher concen- 
trations of mercury, there's a stronger likeli- 
hood of a higher mortality rate, Kramar says. 

William and Mary ornithologist Daniel 
Cristol has found that swallows that eat 
aquatic insects in contaminated areas pro- 
duce fewer fledglings and that mercury can 
adversely impact avian physiology and repro- 
duction and, possibly, endocrine systems. 
The smaller bird species "have great potential 
as proxy bio-monitors for more logistically 
challenging birds such as loons or eagles," 
Cristol has written. 

Why scramble up trees to study young 
eagles? "Mercury is one of the most pervasive 
toxins currently available to humans and 
wildlife," Kramar answers. "Due to atmos- 
pheric processes, it truly represents a global 
threat. Because of the position that raptors 
such as bald eagles hold on the food chain, 
they are excellent indicators of environmen- 
tal and aquatic integrity. If we can better un- 
derstand the hoWs and whys of mercury's 

During eaglet handling, biologists take a blood 
sample which reveals recent prey items as well 
o as exposure to certain metals. 

movement through the environment, we can 
concentrate on better and more focused re- 
mediation policies." 

The Big Picture: Challenges 

How can we sustain a healthy population of 
bald eagles in Virginia? 

Vanishing habitat is a leading concern, 
maintains Cooper. "The biggest challenge is 
shoreline development in the coastal plain." 
Eagles build nests near water, which is prime 
real estate for humans too. Cooper does see 
more pairs coexisting in human-influenced 
landscapes and adapting to development 
somewhat, though they clearly prefer more 
remote places away from people. 

Airplane strikes have become an increas- 
ing hazard to bald eagles over the past decade. 
In fiscal year 20 1 0, there were 1 04 bird strikes 
by civilian aircraft at several Virginia airports, 
including Norfolk, Williamsburg, and Rea- 

gan National. Since 1 997, 1 4 bald eagles have 
been hit by aircraft in Virginia. 

Scott Barras, state director of the U.S. 
Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services 
Program, reports that from 1990 to early 
201 1, there were 122,095 wildlife strikes by 
civilian aircraft in the U.S., 98 percent of 
which involved birds. Seventy percent of 
strikes occur below 1,000 feet as airplanes 
land and depart, says Barras. 

DGIF plans research to better under- 
stand the range habitats of breeding birds and 
to develop a model to determine a safe dis- 
tance for nests near airports. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection 
Agency is proposing more stringent controls 
on mercury emitted into the air. That would 
be an important step toward healthier eagle 

Cooper and Kramar love working with 
eagles, birds that Kramar calls magnificent 
creatures. "I simply want to do everything 1 

can to ensure that the population continues 
to prosper," he stresses. ?f 

Glenda C Booth, afreehince writer, grew up in 
Southwest Virginia andlnis lived in Northern 
Virginia over 30 years, where she is active in 
conservation efforts. 


William and Mary, Center for Conservation 

Virginia Tech, Conservation Management 

DGIF Bald Eagle Fact Sheet: 

U.S. EPA Mercury Information: 




what's right is not 

always easy. 

story and photos 
by David Hart 

Right and wrong. Legal and ille- 
gal. When it comes to Virginia's 
hunting and fishing laws and 
regulations, there's no question what's al- 
lowed and what isn't. You can't shoot a duck 
aft:er sunset. It's illegal to keep seven trout. 
And hens are ofF-limits during spring gobbler 
season. It's all there in black and white. 

But sometimes hunters and anglers are 
faced with a questionable situation, a gray 
area that isn't spelled out in a pamphlet. In- 
stead of searching lor an answer in a book of 
laws tucked away on a shelf in Richmond, we 
have to consider an unwritten code of ethics. 
It does not define what's legal or illegal. In- 
stead, it only serves as a personal guide for 
right and wrong and for moral and ethical. 
Everyone's definition is different, but sooner 
or later anyone who carries a shotgun or spin- 
ning rod will be faced with some sort of ethi- 
cal dilemma that tests their character. It may 
happen entirely by accident, an honest mis- 
take borne out of the best of intentions, or it 
may be an uncomlortable situation brought 
about entirely through the actions ot others. 
Whatever it is, how you solve that dilemma 
will ultimately define you as a hunter, an an- 
gler, and a representative of outdoor sports. 

What if for example, you and a friend 
are jump-shooting wood ducks along a small 
river and you need just one more bird for a 
limit? You spot a flock upstream and execute a 
perfect stalk that takes you within shooting 
range. You stand, swing on a drake on the 
edge of the scattering flock and squeeze the 
trigger. A perfect shot. The bird splashes 
down, but so does another duck that you did 
not see. A single shot puts you one wood duck 
over the legal limit. In an instant, you are 
forced to make a decision. You could leave the 
bird for the scavengers. After all, nothing goes 
to waste in nature. But leaving a duck that 
you killed is not only illegal, it's unethical. 

"Fve actually had this happen before," 
says Mark Grain, who chairs the Northern 
Virginia Chapter of Delta Waterfowl, fhere's 
no legitimate excuse, he agrees, adding the 
ideal answer is to not take a shot that puts you 
in that situation in the first place. 

But things happen, even when we make 
a conscious effort to avoid mistakes. Instead 
of stashing the extra duck in the bushes and 
leaving it for the scavengers, Grain could in- 
stead lay all his birds out in his boat fully ex- 
pecting — and willing — to get a ticket if he is 
confronted by a conservation police officer. 
He may or may not get stopped, bur he is pre- 
pared for that eventuality. 

Still, he wonders, "Do you go to law en- 
forcement and ask them to give you a ticket 
for speeding, even though you weren't 
stopped or written an actual ticket in the 

"The officer would look at you as though 
you had two heads." 

Grain suggests using such incidents as 
learning opportunities. Looking back, he 
considered the circumstances and the events 

When deciding how to handle difficult ethical decisions afield, remember that our children 
become us, and will model their behavior and regard for the law accordingly. 

SEPTEMBER 2011 ♦ 11 

''Whatever it isy 
how you solve that 
dilemma will 
ultimately define you 
as a hunter, an angler, 
and a representative 
of outdoor sports. " 

and contemplated what he should have done 
and what he would do if the same situation 
arose again. 

"Use it as a learning experience and a 
tool on how not to do things in the future. If 
you don't learn something new every time 
you go out hunting or fishing, you are really 
missing the boat," he says. 

Ducks are plentifiil. Some game animals 
like turkeys aren't. Do ethics change based on 
the size, abundance, or inherent value we 
place on a particular game species? Is a turkey 
more "valuable" than a dove? It's a tough 
question to answer, but what if you were in 
the spring turkey woods with a friend on his 
first-ever spring gobbler hunt? He's sitting 
next to you, his shotgun propped across his 
knee as a gobbler answers your every cluck, 
purr, and yelp. You can sense your partner's 
excitement, but you coached him in the ways 
of wild turkeys and taught him to sit rock-still 
and look for the beard and the bright-red 
head before squeezing the trigger 

When the gobbler stops responding, 
you whisper, "Get ready. " A moment later, 
you catch movement to your right and realize 
a bird has silently slipped in on your friend's 

Ethics are intertwined in all types of hunting and fishing. When faced with an ethical 
dilemma, set a good example and do what you know is right. 

side. Before you can identify the turkey, your 
partner swings his gun and squeezes the trig- 
ger. He jumps up, runs to the flopping bird, 
throws his hands up in victor)', turns and 
smiles. His first turkey ever Unfortunately, 
it's a hen. Now what? 

You could leave your friend in the 
woods to fend for himself but that's not 
what true friends do. Or you could sneak it 
out together, pray you don't get caught, and 
agree to forget the incident ever happened. 
That's wrong, too. For National Wild Turkey 
Federation's Andy Ellington, the answer is 

"You pick up the phone and call the 
game warden immediately and tell him the 
details. 1 would also explain to my friend 
what he did wrong and how it could have 
been prevented, although once something 
like that has happened, it won't do a whole 
lot of good to get mad at him," says Elling- 
ton, a Farmville police officer. "I know a po- 
lice officer who accidentally shot two 
gobblers with one shot. He knew he messed 
up, but he also knew he had to do the right 
thing, so he called the game warden. He got 
a ticket and he was willing to accept the con- 

There's no guarantee you'll get a ticket, 
although you probably will. Virginia's con- 
servation police officers utilize discretion to 
make decisions based on all the evidence. 
And even if you do, a sympathetic judge 
might reduce the fines based on the circum- 
stances. No matter what happens, you can 
sleep with a clear conscience, knowing you 
took the right and ethical course of action. 
However, one hunter's version of "right" or 
ethical may be different than another 
hunter's definition. 

"Everyone has a different definition of 
ethics, but a good one 1 heard is that being an 
ethical sportsman means doing the right 
thing when no one is watching," says Vir- 
ginia Hunter Education Association presi- 
dent Vernie Kennedy. 

Keeping an extra duck and possibly get- 
ting fined for it is more ethical than leaving it 
to avoid getting a ticket. But does that mean 
hunters and anglers have an ethical obliga- 
tion to avoid wasting game or fish no matter 
what? What if, for instance, you catch a 
striped bass while casting swimbaits on 
Smith Mountain Lake? After a brief tussle, 
your friend scoops the striper into a net and 


hoists it over the side of^ the boat. Drops oi 
blood fall from the striper's gills. He's hooked 
deep; the blood is a sure sign the fish probably 
won't survive after it is released. You'd gladly 
keep the fish, but it's 26 Vs inches, an eighth oi 
an inch over the legal size limit. Shoulchi't that 
be close enough.' After all, the fish is likely a 
goner anyway. Throwing it back over the side 
of the boat seems no different than pitching 
an extra duck into the bushes, a waste of per- 
fectly good game that would make a great 
meal for a family. 

In this case, the answer is pretty clear: 
Laws and regulations trump ethics, says 
DGIF hunter education coordinator Ser- 
geant David Dodson. They also trump in- 
tent. In other words, your intentions may be 
good, but a conservation police officer has no 
way of knowing what happened before he ar- 
rived, says Dodson. The fish must go back. 

"We stress in hunter education classes 
that you cannot trespass to pursue wounded 
game, for instance, no matter what. If the 
landowner won't allow you onto his land, 
there's nothing more you can do about it," 
says Dodson. "It may be unethical to not re- 
trieve wounded game, but it's illegal to tres- 

But can ethics ever trump the law? 
Kennedy admits it's a difficult and challeng- 
ing question. No ethical hunter would shoot 
a deer out of season, but what if you were in 
the woods squirrel hunting just a few days 
afi:er deer season closed and you saw a doe 
that was suffering from what appears to be a 
poor shot? Do you have an ethical obligation 
to end that animal's suffering? 

"That's a hard question," admits 
Kennedy. "I think I would first try to make 
contact with a game warden. He might come 
out and put it down. If you can't get in touch 
with anyone, then I suppose you should do 
what's right in your heart. It's a question only 
you can answer." 

Still not sure? That's okay. There are no 
easy answers when it comes to making ethical 
choices. Like it or not, however, you'll have to 
make some if you hunt or fish. Whatever you 
decide, just be sure you can look your chil- 
dren or your friends in the eye and say you did 
the right thing. ?f 

David Han is a fidl-time freelance writer and 
photographer from Rice. He is a reguLrr contributor 
to numerous national hunting and fishing 







A National Wildlife Refu^ 

by Randall Shank 

^^^ outhbound traffic on 1-95 near 
^^ft Fredericksburg is often at a stand- 

^1 II still on summer Saturdays as vaca- 
tioners from the north travel south to the 
Atlantic beaches. Several million people live 
in what is known as the "Golden Crescent" of 
Virginia, an area spanning from Fairfax to 
Richmond to Virginia Beach. Lots of people 
mean more houses, more pavement, and 
more stormwater runoff. But if you look 
downstream on the 1-95 Rappahannock 
River Bridge, you will see the river peacefully 
making its way toward the Chesapeake Bay. 
It's as if the river is saying, "Get me away from 
all of this madness to a quieter place." 

Not far away, there is such a place. 

The Rappahannock River Valley Na- 
tional Wildlife Refiige is a mix of 8,450 acres 
of 1 5 managed and unmanaged tracts in 50 
miles of the Rappahannock River basin, from 
below Warsaw on Lancaster Creek to up- 
stream past Port Royal. The refuge is part of 
totir refuges that comprise the Eastern Vir- 
ginia Rivers National Wildlife Refuge Com- 
plex, which is part of a larger, statewide 
system of 14 refuges. All are administered by 
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 

On an early September morning I 
joined members of the Northern Neck Chap- 
ter of the Audubon Society on a bird walk at 
the Laurel Grove tract of the rehige in Rich- 
mond County. Refuge biologist Sandy 
Spencer led us on a hike that passed through 




.■'.. #*'-^T» 


V .«*-=;.> 


^ot Far From Urban Sprawl 


wetlands, mature forest, open meadows, and 
along tidiil shoreline. On the edge of a marsh, 
someone yelled, "There's an immature eagle!" 

Sandy, who prefers to listen for sounds of 
birds as she walks, commented, "He's talking. 
There must be another one nearby. " Everyone 
silendy listened and then watched the eagle 
through their binoculars as it flew up the 

I later discussed the value of the refuge 
with JeflF Cooper, nongame avian coordinator 
with the Department (DGIF). He explained, 
"The refuge plays a critical role in conserva- 
tion in the coastal plain and provides some of 
the best bald eagle habitat in the mid-Adantic 
and probably the East Coast." Cooper told 
me that eagles prefer the fresh and brackish 
water habitats which dominate the refuge 

areas on the Rappahannock River. As many as 
395 bald eagles have been seen during annual 
winter migration surveys on a 30-mile stretch 
of river above Tappahannock. 

A wildlife reRige on the tidal Rappahan- 
nock River was first proposed by the Atkmtic 
Flyway Council in the 1960s. Individuals, 
conservation groups, and government agen- 
cies united to develop a plan for conserving 
lands on the river, with the first tract for the 
refuge acquired in 1 996. 

The overall mission of the wildlife refuge 
system is to "manage a network of lands and 
waters for the conservation, management, 
and where appropriate, restoration of fish. 

wildlife and plant resources habitat." As I dis- 
cussed the importance of the refiige with its 
deputy manager. Merry Maxwell, she enthusi- 
astically responded, "It's important for us to 
unleash the mission!" 

Conserving wildlife is the main task of the 
refuge system, but it also manages wildlife-de- 
pendent recreation, including hunting, fish- 
ing, wildlife observation, photography, 
environmental education, and interpretation. 
The refuge offers white-tailed deer hunting 
with bow, muzzleloader, or shotgun on specific 
dates in October and November. Three sites 
on the DGIF-managed Virginia Birding and 
Wildlife Trail are on the refuge. Fishing, envi- 
ronmental interpretation, wildlife observa- 
tion, and photography are available on the 
Wilna unit. 

Science teachers participate in hand:, un activities to later share with students. Below, 
a developed pier and canoe launch provide public access to Mountain Landing Creek. 

The Bay Connection 

On a warm day in June, I accompanied a 
group of Virginia science teachers as they 
waded in the waters of the Rappahannock on 
the refuge with seine and dip nets in hand. 
The teachers were learning about the refuge's 
role in protecting the Chesapeake Bay. With 
large loblolly pine trees ofi:en used by roosting 
eagles in the background, the teachers caught. 

examined, and released an array of small fish. 
They later gathered at the solar-powered edu- 
cational center to learn more about life here 
from Merry Maxwell. 

She told the group that the geographical 
location of the refuge is critical during the fall 
migration period for neotropical songbirds 
and raptors. The wetland areas are prime win- 
ter habitat for migratory waterfowl. Upland 
forest is important habitat for birds, deer, and 

turkeys. By maintaining the early succession 
stage of meadows on the refuge, populations 
of grasshopper sparrows and bobwhite quail 
have increased. 

The refuge positively impacts the envi- 
ronment on a larger scale, too. Refuge lands 
provide a buffer that absorbs polluted runoff 
that would normally reach the Chesapeake 
Bay and ultimately degrade water quality. 
These same vegetation zones contribute to car- 
bon sequestration and help mitigate warming 
temperatures. As sea level rises on lands that 
are not developed, there will also be room for 
^ future marshes and swamps to be born. Im- 
^ portantly, the refuge contributes to the areas 
^ bank of native plants, insects, and pollinators, 
® which are critical components of healthy 
ecosystem function. 

Conservation Easements 

The purchase of land for conservation is be- 
coming cost-prohibitive, and a conservation 
easement is an economical way to preserve 
open space for future generations. This land 
preservation tool is a flexible agreement be- 
tween a landowner and the conservation part- 
ner holding the easement. 

Sandy Spencer is passionate about them. 
"We need a robust conservation program in- 
volving private landowners to preserve our 

©Randall ShaP^ 


Meadows provide important habitat for quail and grasshopper sparrows. Right, a kayaker 
points to a nesting cavity of a kingfisher. 

rural natural landscapes and farming com- 
munities. The frustration is seeing land being 
gobbled up before you can do anything 
about it." 

Frank Graziano serves on the board of 
the Rappahannock Wildlife Refuge Friends 
group. He and his wife, Ann, sold their prop- 
erty to the refuge. As part of the conservation 
agreement, they have a lifetime lease and use 
of the property. The advantage to them is that 
they know the property around their home 

will never be developed. They were also able 
to receive cash for their land while they are 
still living, obviously a win-win situation. 

I asked Frank what was behind his moti- 
vation to sell and he said that he grew up in 
Maryland. When he goes back to visit, the 
areas that were once rural are now urban. The 
same land changes can happen on Virginias 
rural Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. 
Frank said, "I'll take open space over condo- 
miniums anytime." 

With the help of volunteers, the refuge has es- 
tablished a public use area on the Hutchinson 

Tract near Mountain Landing Creek with a 
covered pavilion, two miles of accessible 
wildlife watching trails, and a kayak/canoe 

aunch. Late one day, my wife and I launched 
our kayaks on the creek across from a saltwa- 
ter marsh. As the tide carried us downstream, 
1 pointed to a nesting cavity in the creeks 
bank. A raucous kingfisher flew by. Sandy 
Spencer's advice to listen for birds echoed in 
my mind, "Chatter, chatter, chatter. Do you 
hear the kingfisher?" 

As the sun set over the marsh, I realized 
that this moment was a microcosm of what 
the refuge is all about. Its a place where the si- 
lence is broken only by the animals and birds 
either passing through or making the refuge 
their home. ?f 

Randall Shank is a freelance writer who lives on the 
Mattaponi River in King & Queen County. He is 
currently training a Boy kin spaniel puppy in 
preparation for her first hunting season. 

- ii ii i mmju ii iJimiM 


Rappahannock River Valley NWR: 
id=51622. The main office is located at 336 
Wilna Road in Warsaw. Call (804) 333-1470 
to schedule a visit. 

©Randall 5han^ 


story & photos by King Montgomery 

Prominent farmer, merchant, and local politician Silas Burke ( 1 796- 1 854) built a house 
on a hill about a five-minute drive from my home in 1 824 in what is now Burke, Vir- 
ginia. His house still stands, but is private and not open to the public. The name 
"Burke" now resounds throughout this community in Northern Virginia's Fairfax County and 
prominently in a nearby impoundment and park. 

The land where Burke Lake and the surrounding park are located almost bec;ime Dulles In- 
ternational Airport in the 1 950s. Locals strenuously and effectively objected, and the new ;iirport 
was built near the country town of Chantilly. Burke Lake Park was born of that consequence. 

The lake was constructed in the early 1 960s by damming a creek. Some of the building and 
subsequent lake management funds were from the Dingell-Johnson Act and Wallop-Breaux 
Amendment. (D-J is the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, where anglers and others pay 
an excise tax on fishing and boating equipment. The money goes to states for their fishing pro- 
grams. W-B added items of fishing and boating gear not covered under D-J. Hunting has an 
equivalent excise tax jn die Pittman-Robertson Act.) 

So now, instead of having jetliners taking off and landing over my house, our neighborhood 
is pretty quiet, and there's a nice park with a kilce full offish just 1 to 1 5 
minutes away. 

Burke Lake is owned by the Department (DGIF) and the park 
around it is owned and operated by the Fairhtx Count)' Park Audiority. 
Both entities have installed boat launch ramps on the lake. The DGIF.j, 


ramp and parking are open year-round at no 
cost, and the county ramp is open during 
open hours of the park. 

The Park 

In the mid-1960s, the first structure, the Marina Bait House and Snack Bar, was built. Today, 
during the season visitors can rent 14-foot aluminum johnboats and 1 2-volt electric motors with 
battery, and can purchase bait, some limited tackle items, and snacks. There are no gasoline mo- 
tors allowed on Burke Lake, but an electric motor or a pair ol oars are all you really need. Personal 
floatation devices for each occupant are provided with a boat rental. 

Burke Lake Park provides one-stop shopping for outdoor recreational activities in this heav- 
ily populated area. The 888-acre park boasts a 4.5-mile jogging and bicycle path that circumnav- 
igates the lake. It is baby stroller and wheelchair friendly along most of its course. The trail in 2005 
was selected as the Number 5 top fitness trail in the coimtry by the American Hiking Society. 

Additionally, the park offers numerous picnic areas, playgrounds, sports areas, a disc golf 
course, an 1 8-hole par 3 golf course with driving range and practice putting green, an amphithe- 
ater, carousel, miniature train ride, ice cream parlor, arid 100 camp sites with a small camp store 
that sells ice, wood, and charcoal. 

\i \ 


I often spend rime, particularly on a nice day 
in the spring, at Burke Lake Park, slowly 
walking the trails searching ftjr wildlife to 
watch and photograph. Here you can see bald 
eagles, ospreys, various shore birds such as 
great blue herons and egrets, and waterfowl in 
profusion. On land you'll find whitetails, 
squirrels, and a myriad of songbirds, smaller 
raptors, and butterflies. 

After goslings and ducklings hatch, usu- 
ally May into early June, it's a real joy seeing 
the new families swimming in the water, 
going from here to there. Canada geese, mal- 
lards, and wood ducks find Burke Lake a hos- 
pitable place to raise their young. 

The waters of the lake are home to at 
least 16 species of fishes, including large- 
mouth black bass, black crappies, bluegills, 
shellcrackers, pumpkinseeds, walleyes, mus- 
kellimge, white and yellow perch, channel 
catfish, and several forage fishes such as giz- 
zard shad. 

Managing the Fishery 

The DGIF manages the lake for sport fishing 
and provides the year-round boat ramp acces- 
sible from Ox Road (Route 123). Anglers 16 
years and over need a Virginia fishing license 
and should check creel limits at the county 
boat ramp or at w\vw.HuntFish 

To efi^ectively manage the fishery, 
DGIF's Fredericksburg office personnel col- 
lect fish samples by electrofishing and, some- 
times, by using Fyke-style nets that are set one 
day and checked lor fish the next. The data 
collected by identifying, weighing, and meas- 
uring captured fishes are used to establish 
creel limits and to drive other management 
practices as well. 

I was along on some ol the May 2010 
electrofishing surveys and early 2011 net 
sampling ventures. I was surprised at the 
number and species diversity of fish caught, 
processed, and released. Good numbers of 
largemouth bass larger than 15 inches should 
ensure angler success in the near future. The 
lake consistently scores near the top for bass 
fishing potential of all the waters in the Old 
1 )()minion. ITiey are out there; all you have to 
do is catch them. 

Although the sunfish population of de- 
sirable-size fish is down from previous years. 

The distinctive sound of a red-winged 
blackbird calling for a mate can be heard 
in spring. Fisheries biologists haul nets on 
a cold day (R) to sample fish populations 
in the lake. 

there are plenty ot bluegills and perches avail- 
able under 8 inches. Black crappies are 
healthy, and fish to 1 4 inches were taken. An- 
glers are encouraged to keep crappies up to 
the limit, currently 25 fish per day, since they 
could overpopulate and become stunted if 
not controlled. To me, crappie are the best 
tasting fish after walleye, so keeping some for 
the table is not a problem. 

Channel cats, walleye, and muskies are 
periodically stocked by DGIF since these 
species don't successftilly reproduce in small 
impoundments. At one time the musky pop- 
ulation in Burke Lake was so robust the 
DGIF used them as brood stock to raise fish 
in hatcheries for eventual release elsewhere. 
The state record musky once came out of 
Burke Lake. 

Fishing Burke Lake 

By my own experience and the accounts of 
others who regularly fish there, Burke l^kc is 



a tough fishery most of the year. Spring is the 
exception, when most of the fishes in the lake 
are spawning and they come into the shal- 
lows, usually not far from shore. If you use a 
boat when the park ramp isn't open, you'll 
need to launch at the DGIF launch site. 

Action for bass and other species is par- 
ticularly good early and late in the day in the 
late spring, summer, and early fall months. 
Bass and bluegills readily attack fly rod or 
conventional tackle poppers and other top- 
water offerings. As the day progresses, work 
back from the shoreline and go a little deeper 
until you find the fish. 

Bob Studholme, recently retired from 
the Fairfax County Park Authority, did a long 
stint at Burke Lake. He says one of the best 
ways to find the fish is to slowly troll up and 
down the lake arms with several rods with 
lures or bait set at different depths. Also work 
the fish structure, usually sunken trees, placed 
in the lake. Locations are available on a map 
in the park office. Crappies in particular seem 
to like these hangouts. 

I spent a few hours this past fall on the 
lake with John Melanson, recently retired as a 
manager of the Burke Lake Park Golf Course, 
who fishes the lake regularly. We motored 

around and he showed me some good spots. 
He seeks out lake points that extend into the 
water and provide dropoffs that fish seem to 
like. And he always fishes the blown down 
trees lying in the water, because they provide 
cover for the smaller fishes and other organ- 
isms that the bigger fish feed upon. 

John Odenkirk, a DGIF fisheries biolo- 
gist from the Fredericksburg regional office, 
says that electrofishing and net sampling 
show an abundance of forage for the larger 

predator fishes such as largemouth bass, wall- 
eye, and muskellunge. So they seem to have 
plenty to eat and might not want your fly, 
lure, or bait much of the time. 

I've noticed that my portable depth 
finder shows Burke Lake as a relatively flat, 
featureless bottom lake that has few places for 
fishes to congregate such as old tree stumps, 
rock piles, or other structure. I believe the 
fishes tend to move around more in open 
water following schools of bait. And this is 
why trolling is a higher percentage method of 
angling than casting artificial or natural baits 
along the shoreline. 

Burke Lake Park is a wonderful outdoor 
recreation facility that offers everything Irom 
lake fishing to celebrating a birthday in one of 
the picnic or other areas. It has something for 
everyone, and there's still plenty of space for 
more visitors. It is a great location for families 
looking to spend a day out-of-doors. '^ 

Frequent contributor King Montgomery, a free- 
lance writer and photographer from Burke, also is 
a retired U. S. Army officer and has a degree in 
fisheries biology. Contact him at 
kinganglerl @aoL corn. He thanks Burke Lake 
Park Manager Charlie Reaglefor his help with 
this article. 


Before you visit Burke Lake Park check their 
website at 
burkelake. In 2011, the hours of operation 

• Grounds are open form sunrise to 

• Beginning the first week in April, 
facilities will be open weekend until 
Memorial Day weekend. Campground 
opens third Friday in April. 

• Between Memorial Day and Labor Day 
all facilities will be open, weather 

• After Labor Day park facilities will be 
open on weekends until October 31. 
Last night to camp is the last Saturday 
in October. 

• Bad weather can alter the operating 
schedule. Call 703-323-6600 to deter- 
mine park status. 

There is no charge for Fairfax County 
residents to visit the park. Others will be 
charged $10 per vehicle, and buses pay 
$40 on weekends and holidays from 
April-October to enter the park. 

Left, after fish are collected by DGIF biologists, they are weighed and measured and re- 
turned to the lake unharmed. A variety of fishes here make for good angling from the 
child-friendly pier. 

SEPTEMBER 2011 ♦ 21 

H awk VV'af cKl i^g 

"In all things of nature then 

photos & story by Mane Mojorov 

■ t was our first fall visit to the hawkwatch platform at 
f Kiptopeke State Park on Virginias Eastern Shore. 
^ -^ We heard: "Coop up high!" "Merlin over the pine!" 
My husband and I were astounded! Relying on clues such as 
wing and tail shape, posture, proportion, wing beat, flight style, 
and other subdeties not regularly used by backyard birders, these 
hawk watchers were able to distinguish and count migrating 
hawks, falcons, ospreys, and eagles from what to us looked like 
mere specks in the sky. 

Raptor identification is both science and art; occasionally 
used up close, but more frequently plied from great distances as 
hawks stream and soar overhead. With patient study, experts 
have worked out fine field diff^erences such as "choppy" versus 
"snappy" wing beats. Oh, so much to learn! 

Our education continued with an early summer encounter: 
a large blue-eyed bird, brown above with a reddish-brown 
streaked white breast and long banded tail feathers, sitting majes- 
tically in our driveway. What a glorious sight. . . soon we spotted 
i^our of these intense looking, blue-eyed hunters bumbling 
around in the beautiful old woods behind our home, exper- 
imenting to find branches that would hold their consider 
able size. They decided on our fence, a steadier option. 
Their coloration, as well as their behavior, clearly made 
them juveniles. 

Our deck became a hawk watching platform. 
Since blue-eyed hawks were not to be found anywhere 
in our field guides, we needed expert help to identify 
this fearsome foursome as hatching-year Coopers 





5 something of the marvelous 


hawks. Fledgling "coops," we learned, have blue eyes that turn to 
a pale yellow during their first year. The eyes dien darken to or- 
ange and finally red, as their adult upperparts take on a blue-gray 
hue and their breast turns white with rufous barring. 

Cooper's hawks belong to the genus Accipiter, only three of 
which are native to North America. The smaller, markedly similar 
looking sharp-shinned hawk is a rare breeder in our common- 
wealth, making for very tricky field identifications. Most female 
raptors are larger and heavier than males. Adding to the challenge, 
there is overlap in size between female "sharpies" and male "coops"! 
Also native to this continent, the larger goshawk has a more northern 
breeding ground. 

Our backyard with its mixed-deciduous forest and grassy 
meadow edge was perfect "coop" habitat for building a 
wide stick nest high in a tall tree. The youthfol hawks ma- 
tured before our eyes. Their flight became steady and, 
as is characteristic of this short, round-winged genus 
with long rudder-like tails, they were soon maneu- 
vering at amazing speeds through the dense stand 
of trees in view from our "hawk platform/deck." 
They learned to drop from perches, take off on 
foot scampering after prey, and became nimble 
enough to attempt catching birds in flight. They 
no longer needed our fence. In about four weeks 
these magnificent young fledglings took on the 
more secretive lifestyle of their parents. 

VtfiJdlHe Observoto,,, 

i 23 

rrr:... . 1994-2009 

"Coops,' dining on mid-sized birds and 
small mammals have unfortunately earned an 
undeser\'ed reputation of being chicken hawks! 
They occasionally take chickens; when they do, 
it is a function of the hawk taking advantage ol 
a concentrated food source. 

Otik* 3reediK\g T^apfoK's 

Red-tailed, red-shouldered, and broad-winged 
hawks, all in the Buteo genus characterized by 
long broad wings and rounded fan-like tails, are 
also Virginia breeders. Low-gliding Northern 
harriers. Circus genus, distinguishable by a 
white rump patch and formerly called "marsh 
hawks," favor Virginias marshy areas. 

Our smallest raptors, American kestrels 
(once called sparrow hawks), are actually fal- 
cons. The kestrel and peregrine, Virginias two 
nesting falcons, have long, pointed wings and 
lengthy, compressed tails perfectly adapted for 
high-speed predatory dives. The peregrine is the 
world's fastest bird and can reach diving speeds 
of 200 miles per hour! Kestrels are known for 
"kiting, " or hovering, over potential prey and 
can frequendy be seen sitting on telephone lines 
or poles alongside redtails. 

Heavy tolls have been exacted on Virginia's 
raptor populations by environmental factors 
and negative opinions. Raptors are vulnerable 
to many environmental pressures, including 
development, habitat change, global warming 
and, especially, pesticides. 

Overwhelmingly destructive was the use 
of DDT following World War 11. It decimated 
many raptor populations. Bald eagles and os- 
preys were especially hard hit. Eastern peregrine 
falcons were extirpated as breeders east of the 
Mississippi. Following the 1974 DDT ban, 
raptors began to slowly recover. DGIF biolo- 
gists have played a major role in the restoration 
and management of raptors, especially pere- 
grines, which once again nest around Hampton 
Roads and the Eastern Shore. Sadly, with the 
continued loss of wetland habitat harriers re- 
main on the "Species of Greatest Conservation 
Need" list in Virginia's Wildlife Action Plan. 
Sightings like our C'ooper's hawks arc a positive 
sign, but raptor populations remain vulnerable. 

Virginia's nesting raptors are considered 
"partial migrants, " meaning that some, but not 
all, leave during the nonbreeding season to take 
advantage of food, shelter, and water conditions 
that vary throughout the year. That is, some 
raptors stay, some migrate, and others from 
northern climes come to Virginia to winter. 

A young Cooper's hawk eats the spoils of his early morning hunt. 

Kip+opeke -f-Iawkwatck 

Fall is migration time on the Atlantic Flyway! 
After passing through renowned places like 
Hawk Mountain, Pennsylvania, and Cape 
May, New Jersey, tens of thousands of raptors 
descend upon Virginia, threading their way 
south along our mountain ridges and coast- 
line — providing spectacular viewing oppor- 

The Kiptopeke Hawkwatch, part of the 
Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory 
(CVWO), is one of our country's premier 
hawk watching locations. At Kiptopeke State 
Park where the long Delmarva Peninsula nar- 
rows, a geographic funnel is formed — creat- 
ing rich concentrations of southbound 
migrants as they reach the mouth of the 
Chesapeake. CVWO president Brian Taber 
describes Kiptopeke as "the best place in the 
world to see migrating merlins and peregrine 
falcons as they pass by in reliably large num- 
bers and often at close range." 

CVWO, a non-profit organization 
formed in 1 994 with the help of partners and 
advisors (i ncluding DC jIF, Virginia Society of 
Ornithology, I he Nature Conservancy, Col- 
lege of William and Mary, Virginia State 
Parks, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia 
NWR), oversees long-term ecological moni- 
toring of migratory raptors, songbirds, and 
butterflies in this very speciiil habitat mix of 
barrier islands, dunes, beaches, and saltwater 
marshes. Conservation is the goal. 

Raptor counting on the platform is con- 
ducted from dawn to dusk, September I to 
November 30, by a paid biologist and very 
dedicated volunteers, all of whom are talented 
in providing instruction and presentations to 
visitors. Eighteen species of hawks and two 
species of vultures have been recorded at Kip- 
topeke. Daily records set are amazing: 462 
merlins and 364 peregrines in just one day! 
Hawk watchers also help count migrating 
monarchs for CVWO's butterfly researchers. 

Staff from CVWO's nearby raptor 
banding station, under direction of Master 
Bander Dr. Bob Reilly, regularly bring newly- 
banded hawks, merlins, and peregrines to the 

Adam Gmyrek brings newly banded birds to 
the platform for close-up viewing and release. 


VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn 

platform before releases: a breathtaking, up- 
close experience! 

A spring watch for returning migrants is 
conducted by CVWO on the other side of the 
bay at College Creek on the James River near 
Williamsburg. It is the only spring hawk- 
watch in Virginia. 

T^idcje Sites 

Mountain hawk watching provides different 
delights. Broad-winged hawks migrate by the 
thousands, forming "ketdes" in mid- to late 
September and circling upwards on rising 
columns of warm air (thermals), then gliding 
great distances to catch another thermal up- 
ward and glide effortlessly. In this manner. 

they travel up to several hundred miles a day 
and eventually to Panama and points south. 
An amazing sight! You may also see ospreys, 
American kestrels, and even bald eagles join- 
ing the broad-wings. 

Thermals decrease as fall chills arrive; 
later migrants, the Accipiters, rely on 
north/northwesterly winds hitting our west- 
ern slopes and creating updrafts that provide 
propulsion and lift, allowing them average 
speeds of 40 mph in southerly directions 
along mountains ridges. In the final stages of 
migration, redtails become more numerous 
in the updrafts accompanied by red-shoul- 
ders, harriers, and occasional peregrines. 
Northern goshawks and golden eagles are 
most frequently seen late in the migration 
after the leaves have fallen. 

Top, Brian Taber and volunteers demonstrate the use of cut-outs that help new hawk 
watchers learn to make indentifications. Here, a newly banded peregrine falcon. 

There are 16 official hawkwatch counting 
stations across Virginia's mountains and coastal 
areas (link to listings and directions below). 
Well-known mountain sites where great broad- 
wing ketdes and other migrating raptors can be 
viewed include Snickers Gap, between Win- 
chester and Leesburg; Rockfish Gap, west of 
Charlottesville off 1-64; and Harvey's Knob 
overlook along the Blue Ridge Parkway north 
of Roanoke. 

As in Kiptopeke, daily counts are made at 
these ridge sites from September through No- 
vember. All results are cataloged and studied by 
the Hawk Migration Association of North 

Where are all the migrants headed? Or- 
nithologists are still learning, but many head to 
wintering grounds in Mexico and farther south 
in the tropics of Central and South America. 
Raptors are an important link in the chain of 
life and the information collected about their 
migration tells us something about how well 
we are preserving and conserving the overall 
health of our natural world. 

Now is the time to grab binoculars, a good 
field guide such as the Hawks from Every Angle 
(cited below), and head to the Eastern Shore, 
one ofVirginia's official hawkwatch stations, or 
just a beautifol mountaintop or wind-swept 
ridge with a gorgeous view. Look up, take a 
deep breath, and marvel at the grand migratory 
pageant occurring overhead. ?f 

Marie and Milan Majarov (ivivw. majarov. com) are 
retired clinical psychologists, nature enthusiasts, and 
members of the Virginia Outdoor Writers Association 
who live in Winchester. 


Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory: 

Hawkwatch sites: 

Raptors in Virginia: 

Hawk Migration Association of North 

Hawks from Every Angle: How to Identify 
Raptors in Flight, by Jerry Liguori. Published 
by Princeton University Press, 2005. 

Virginia's Hawkwatch Stations: php?stateprov= 

SEPTEMBER 201 1 ♦ 25 

New River 

by Tee Clarkson ♦ photos by Eric Rutherford 

I was the first one out the door as the 
bell rang at the end ot the day, slipping 
past students, bounding down the 
stairs and outside to the parking lot 
into a nearly unbearable heat. Ninety-five-de- 
gree days are something one gets used to living 
in this part of the country, but it was the first 
oflRcial day of fall and it hadn't rained a drop in 
over a month. I needed a change from the 
weather, from the routine, from it all. I was 
heading to the New River. 

I never totally feel like I have left Rich- 
mond until I am west of the Zion Crossroads 
exit on 1-64, and even that is old hat. It is really 
at the top of Afton Mountain that 1 cross an 
imaginary line, leaving what was behind for 
good, if only for a day, and embarking on some 
adventure revealed in the mountains ol west- 
ern Virginia. 

In just a few hours 1 was sitting with 
Shawn Hash in The Palisades Restaurant in 
Eggleston. The Palisades could just as easily be 
located in the Fan district in Richmond with 
its long wooden bar, high ceilings, and eclectic 
menu, from trout, to scallops, to gourmet 
pizza, it was easy to forget that we were in such 
a small town. Appropriately, a bluegrass bantl 

practiced on the porch next door and a hun- 
dred feet behind them, the hill dropped down 
into the New River. 

Shawn is one of those guys who seems to 
know almost everyone in the room, whether 
two minutes from his house or two hours 
away. 1 guess it's the product of being in the 
service industry for nearly twenty years. He 
and his brother started Tangent Outfitters in 
1992 with four mountain bikes and two ca- 
noes. While his brother moved on to other 
things, Shawn now runs a thriving business in 
Pembroke that includes not only guided fish- 
ing and hunting trips, but canoe rentals, 
mountain biking, a tackle shop, and a restau- 
rant. His newest offering is a yurt located right 
on the river, where hunters and fishermen can 
spend the night located just minutes from their 
next cast or their spread of decoys. So I wasn't 
surprised when Shawn ordered shrimp 
wrapped in bacon and scdlops served over 
cheese grits that the waitress chimed in, "You 
mean the Hash Special?" She laughed. "We 
have a button for it on the register now. " 

My first experience on the New River in 
Virginia was with Shawn almost ten years ago. 
Every time I come up this way, I think, "I need 
to come out here more. " But, like everyone, 1 
think that about a lot of places and things 1 
rarely get a chance to do. It is the rarity that 
brings the excitement, and while it seems 
tempting, it wouldn't make sense to trade it. 

Of dl the fishing I have done in the state 
and arotmd the country, the New River ranks 
near the top of my list of favorites, and at the 
very top when talking river smallmouth fish- 
ing; hence my excitement for the day that lay 
ahead. Although it would get hot later, it felt 
good to need a pullover this morning, looking 
our at the river — a light fog hovering over the 
rilHing water — not knowing what the day 
would bring. Ihis was the change I needed. 

Above, a nice smallmouth bass is just one 
of the rewards awaiting New River anglers. 




Shawn's Lab, Brownie, had a great workout this day bringing bacl< geese to the raft. 

As we loaded the boats with fishing gear, 
a pair of mallards dropped in with a larger 
group some 1 00 yards below lis in an eddy on 
river left:. While we couldn't shoot ducks today, 
we were packing a couple of shotguns to jump 
shoot geese if we got the chance, as there were 
still a few days remaining in the season. 

As is not uncommon on the New, the fish 
were cooperative right off the bat. Within a 
few minutes we had caught a half-dozen 
smaller fish, when my rod doubled over in a 
shallow riffle. Clearly this was a different beast. 
Pulling hard across the current toward the op- 
posite bank, the fish easily peeled the 8 lb. test 
off my spool. There was no way to get her back 
upstream to where Shawn had anchored the 
boat, so we were forced to drift down, passing 

on some more good water, hoping it would 
be worth it. In a few minutes she was in the 
net, a healthy 1 8-inch smallie that would eas- 
ily go three pounds. 

The fishing was so good for the first hour 
of the float that I forgot all about the shotguns 
we had brought iilong. Shawn's voice remind- 
ed me: "There's some geese along the bank 
down the river on the left. " 

For the first time since we got in the raft, 
I turned my attention away from the fish. 
Downstream, I could see at least a hundred 
geese loafing along the bank and in the water. 
The nice thing about jump-shooting on a 
river is that it allows for time to make a plan. 
Ihat isn't always the case with the decoying 
birds I am more accustomed to. 

Shawn and I put away the rods and 
loaded our guns, drifting slowly toward the 
birds. It seemed like forever as the raft got clos- 
er and closer It was all I could do not to grab 
for my gim, but I didn't want to alert the birds 
until they were in range. To my surprise, they 
let us drift within 30 yards before we reached 
for our guns and they turned to the sky. The 
most difficult thing when staring down a flock 
that large is picking a single bird from the 
group. While it is tempting sometimes to 
"flock shoot," no matter how tightly the birds 
are packed together, it never seems to work. I 
picked the closest and easiest shot, a large resi- 
dent bird heading right for me, and pulled the 
trigger. The goose dropped from the sky. I 
picked another and another with the same re- 
sult. A clean triple. Don't get me wrong: it was 
not difficult shooting. When the commotion 
c;ime to an end, I realized Shawn had done the 
same on the other side of the flock. Six shots 
and six geese was a good way to start. The most 
enjoyable part was watching Shawn's dog. 
Brownie, pick up the birds. Bounding through 
the shallow water, she dragged each back be- 
fore going after the next. She radiated an ex- 
citement that one loves to see in a hunting dog. 

When we had collected the birds, we pad- 
dled across the river and had lunch. In a large, 
slow pool, I happened to look down and no- 
ticed several giant musky, lying motionless 
about halfway down in the water column. I 
quickly reached for the musky rod we had 
rigged and made a few casts. I truly expected, 
based on how the day had gone so far, for one 
to immediately erupt on the large, inline spin- 
ner, but like musky often do, they simply slunk 
away to unknown depths, never to be seen or 
heard from again. While I was slightly disap- 
pointed, I was due a little dose of reality on the 
New. It wouldn't make sense to want it any 
other way. ?f 

Tee Clarkson is an English teacher at Deep Run High 
School in Henrico Co. and runs Virginia Fishing 
Adventures, a/ishing camp for kids. Contact him at 
tsclarkson Qpvirgiiiiafishingadventures. com. 


• Tangent Outfitters: Call 540-626-4567 
or go to 

• The Palisades Restaurant: Go to 

If you are in the area looking for a good 
meal, I recommend the hash special! 






Rivers & 

^ Outdoor 
ii Classics 


Nymph-Fishing Rivers & Streams: 
A Biologist's View of Taking Trout 
Below the Surface 

by Rick Hafele 

2006 Stackpole Books 

Hardcover with color photographs. Includes 

72-minute DVD 


"This is a book about nymph-fishing from the 
perspective of an aquatic entomologist who has 
spent almost 40 years trying to catch fish with 
flies. My goal is to explain what Vve learned 
about nymphs ay^d fish, and how it translates 
into methods that catch trout in streams and 
rivers anyiuhere in the world. " 

-Rick Hafele 

This outstanding book and DVD set has been 
in print since 2006, but I wish I had discov- 
ered it a bit earlier in the trajectory of my fly- 
fishing learning curve. It would have 
answered many of the questions I had about 
how to 'read' a body of water, and how to fish 
nymphs, midges, caddis larvae, beadhead 
worms, emergers, and other sub-surface pat- 
terns. The valuable entomological informa- 
tion contained in this set about the critters 
upon which trout feed is, by itself reason to 
add it to your collection. It will enrich your 
knowledge of trout fishing in general and 
nymph-fishing in particular. 

Since the goal is to catch more trout 
through an understanding of the environ- 
ments in which they live and feed. Rick 
Hafele approaches fishing from the perspec- 
tive of a scientist, and he approaches science 
from the perspective of an enthusiastic angler. 

In pursuit of his buggy quarry, he has 
ofiren donned wetsuit and snorkel for an up- 
close and personal perspective on the life cy- 
cles of these aquatic creatures and how they 
behave under water. His enthusiasm carries 

over to the text, which makes it a particularly 
accessible and compelling read. 

The volume unfolds with a brief history 
of nymph-fishing, and the anglers and au- 
thors who defended and promoted nymph- 
ing techniques in a world where the dry fly 
was king and the nymph held little snob ap- 
peal. Once the stage is set. Rick moves on to 
chapters describing trout and their environs, 
appropriate tackle, fly patterns, and nymph- 
fishing tactics. The fly patterns are clearly 
photographed and enticing; I was inspired to 
haul out my vise for a multi-hour session of 
nymph, emerger, and scud tying. 

The book is profiisely and colorfially il- 
lustrated with detailed photos ot aquatic 
creatures and their imitations, as well as love- 
ly black and white sketches ot the contours of 
trout habitat and the nymph-fishing tech- 
niques that suit varying underwater condi- 
tions. For the amateur scientist, there are bar 
charts covering the aquatic creatures de- 
scribed — their distribution, abundance, and 
availability as both nymph and emerger — as 
well as numerous, easy-to-read tables de- 
scribing fly patterns and their importance, 
and how to fish them. 

This book and DVD set works especial- 
ly well, in part, because it appeals to a variet)' 
of learning styles: visual, kinesthetic, and au- 
ditory. The DVD is a real bonus, and once 
you get past the somewhat gimmicky intro- 
duction, there is a wealth of 'on the water' in- 
struction meticulously filmed so that the 
viewer feels like he or she is a part of the ac- 
tion. A terrific treat for yourself or for the an- 
gler in your life! 

Boy Scout 

Sponsored by VDGIF & VHEA 

New Kent Forestry Center 

8 a.m. Saturday, 

September 24, 2011 


Henry McBurney 


Mandatory Duck 
Stamps & HIP 

2011 Virginia Migratory Waterfowl Con- 
servation Stamp. Artwork by Ron Louque. 

II hunters who plan to hunt doves, 
waterfovi/l, rails, woodcock, snipe, 
coots, gallinules, or moorhens in Virginia 
must be registered with the Virginia Har- 
vest Information Program (HIP). HIP is 
required each year and a new registra- 
tion number is needed for the 
2011-2012 hunting season. To obtain a 
new HIP number, register online at or call 1-888-788-9772. 
In addition, to hunt waterfowl in 
Virginia hunters must obtain a Federal 
Duck Stamp and the Virginia Migratory 
Waterfowl Conservation Stamp. The an- 
nual Migratory Waterfowl Conservation 
Stamp can be purchased for $10.00 (res- 
ident or non-resident) from VDGIF li- 
cense agents or from the Depart- 
ment's website. To request collector 
stamps and prints, contact Mike Hinton 
by email at 




During Free Fishing Days in June, 6-year-old 
Wyatt Berlendy caught his first fish. The large- 
mouth bass was 23%" long and weighed 7 
pounds 1 ounce. He used his small children's 
Spiderman pole to catch this fish from a farm 
pond in the Suffolk area. 

Photo Contest 

Mora (Age 2) 

1st place (ages 1-5) 

Maya (Age 6) 

1st place (ages 5-10) 

Congratulations to Alora and Maya for winning 1st Place in their divisions of the Kids 
'N Fishing Photo Contest. First through third place winners each receive a prize pack- 
age from Shakespeare Tackle Co. and Green Top Sporting Goods. Find out how to 
enter at 


Congratulations to Rich Young of Richmond for his gorgeous image of a ladybug on a daisy. Rich 
used a Nikon D7000 digital camera shooting at 105mm with settings ISO 200, l/500th and f/4.0. 
Notice how his use of shallow, or minimal depth-of-field really made the ladybug stand out! 

You are invited to submit one 
to five of your best photo- 
graphs to "Image of the 
Month," Virginia Wildlife Mag- 
azine, P.O. Box 11104, 4010 
West Broad Street, Richmond, 
VA 23230-1104. Send original 
slides, super high-quality 
prints, or high-res jpeg, tiff, or 
raw files on a disk and include 
a self-addressed, stamped 
envelope or other shipping 
method for return. Also, please 
include any pertinent informa- 
tion regarding how and where 
you captured the image and 
what camera and settings you 
used, along with your phone 
number. We look forward to 
seeing and sharing your work 
with our readers. 



After a brief hiatus to give his hunting pawier 
a rest, Luke isgLidto be back busting brush and 
sharing his hunting tips and wisdom with you. 

Success has been defined as the achieve- 
ment of an objective or goal. At most tra- 
ditional southern dove shoots, success may 
mean being the first shooter to get your limit on 
doves or having that new retriever pup you 
worked with all summer stay steady to shot and 
then retrieve downed birds flawlessly. 

The small, but exclusive Lonesome Dove 
Hunt Club and Literary Society has been doing a 
little fine-tuning on what it takes to have a suc- 
cessfiil dove hunt. Like their fellow southern 
brethren, members pride themselves on their 
bird-to-shot ratios and a good retriever. But as 
the members of our litde club have matured 
(aged), the definition of a successfiil hunt has 

In the past, to be a successful dove shooter 
it was important to know a little bit about the 
field where you were hunting. Doves seemed to 
be attracted to power lines and dead trees, so if 
you got to the dove field early, you were able to 
secure a spot near one of these things. This strat- 
egy meant that you would have to arrive at the 
dove field perhaps an hour before shooting time 
with your dove stool, boxes of shells, plenty of 
water, and a well-trained dog like me, and sit in 
blazing, 90-degree heat — risking a bad sunburn 
to yourself and heat stroke to your pup. Eventu- 
ally, when shooting time rolled around, you had 
consumed all your water and needed to excuse 
yourself to reduce some, ahem, internal pres- 

You returned, only to find some Johnny- 
come-lately had set himseli" up abnost on top of 
your spot. If you were not hot enough by now, 
this impolite maneuver by your new neighbor 
increases your blood pressure to the boiling 
point, which adversely affects your shooting. To 
make matters worse, your new neighbor is an 

excellent shot and has no problem (or con- 
science) poaching your birds and limiting out 
within an hour, while you condnue to melt and 
your dog whines because you refuse to let it re- 
trieve the downed birds. 

You quickly learn when you are a dove 
hunter the only meat worth cooking is the dove 
breast, and you will need a number of them to 
make it worthwhile to fire up the grill. The aver- 
age dove shooter may shoot 3 to 4 doves per box 
of shells, and while the fact that you get to shoot 
a lot is often one of the reasons people enjoy this 
sport, when you figure in the price of a box ol 
ammunition these days versus the food you 
bring home from a hunt, you may be better off^ 
buying Omaha steaks for your entire clan. 

Although long on tradition and somewhat 
longer in the tooth, it did not take too many 
dove shoots for my hunting partner. Of Jones, 
to figure out that some changes should be incor- 
porated. In fact, it's why the Lonesome Dove 
Hunt Cktb and Literary Society was formed. Its 
small membership consists of only those experi- 
enced dove shooters who have learned that tam- 
pering with tradition can sometimes have its 

One of the first things the members do 
upon arrival is find the most abundant shade. It 
is there they will park their cars and place their 
lounge chairs. They have learned that you can- 
not carry on a good conversation with your best 
friends by yelling across some field. Arrival time 
to the dove shoot also has become somewhat 
flexible. Where it was once important to arrive 
early to get a good spot, we know t\\e pe feet spox. 
is close to where you park your car. Some may 
argue that stationing yourself next to your car 
will spook the doves. Nonsense. It is the con- 
stant yelling to some of our hard-of-hearing 
members that spooks doves. Besides, carrying a 
shotgun, shells, and a straining retriever at the 
end ol a leash for 200 yards over uneven groimd 
can be exhausting. We go dove hunting for the 

shoodng — not the aerobics! So setting up about 
1 yards from your car means just about eveiy- 
thing you need stays in the car until it is needed. 

Realizing that you may not have the best 
shooting spot and your shooting may be limit- 
ed, club members have found it is a good idea to 
bring a book to read and leave the dog at home. 
It is really too hot for a dog to be running 
around anyway! Some older members have dis- 
covered that after reading a good book, their 
eyes may be a little tired and they would enjoy a 
short nap. To show respect for these members, 
other members have decided to forgo loading 
their shotgun shells — so as to not be tempted to 
fire their shotguns and risk awakening dozing 
hunters. Other, more radical members have 
taken the step of leaving their shotgun and shells 
in the car. After all, why carry additional bag- 
gage unnecessarily? 

Instead of going to the expense of planting 
sunflowers or other game mix to attract doves to 
the field, only to find that a summer storm may 
have diverted these migrating birds on their way 
south, the members merely bush hog a field. If 
the doves happen to show up — fine. But it is just 
as well if they don't. A gun that is shot will have 
to be cleaned, and for that matter, any dove that 
your so-called "trained " retriever has brought to 
you will have to be plucked and cleaned! 

The best dove shoots have refreshments af- 
terwards, and here is where the Lonesome Dove 
Hunt Club and Literary Society shines. At five 
o'clock, the chef — Mrs. Of Jones — arrives with 
a feast to satisfy the gods. There is smoked 
salmon, some type of bruschetta, three types of 
cheeses with an assortment of crackers, Italian 
peppers, homemade Italian meatballs and spicy 
sausages that have been slow-cooked for 6 to 8 
hours, homemade rolls, and homemade co- 
conut pie — and enough aged liquid to calm the 
nerves and assist the digestive system. 

This type of dove shoot has been met with 
such great approval by its members that at the 
club's last meeting it was voted that shooting 
time for this year's event should be pushed back 
to 4:30 in the afternoon. It was also suggested 
that perhaps it would be best to leave the shot- 
guns and shells at home. But cooler heads pre- 
vailed when or Jones pointed out that it would 
be awfully tough to explain to each member's 
alpha female that they were going on a dove 
shoot with neither shotgun nor shells!! 

Keep a leg up, 

Xou can contact Luke and huntingpartner Clarke 
C. Jones at www. cLnkecjones. com. 

SEPTEMBER 20n ♦ 31 

€1^ Photo Tips 

by Lynda Richardson 

Get Control of White Balance 

In bright overcast light using Auto White 
Balance (AWB), this innage appears a little 
on the cool blue side. ISO 100, 1/40, f/4.5. 
©Lynda Richardson 

In the same light but this time using the WB 
symbol for heavy shade (house with shade 
cast by roof), the image appears overly yel- 
low. It ended up that using the sun symbol 
worked the best. ISO 100, 1/40, f/4.5. 
©Lynda Richardson 

When you look over the features on 
your digital camera, you may have 
noticed something called White Balance 
(WB). White balance controls how your 
camera responds to different colors oi light 
for the purpose of reducing any color cast in 
the image. 

What? First of all, light is measured by 
color temperature in degrees Kelvin (a unit of 
measurement from the International System 
of Units). Red is considered the warmest 
color, while blue is the coolest. The mid-point 
between the two is white. Daylight color tem- 
perature ranges from 5200 to 5500K, while 
overcast, cloudy days tend to record blue 
from 6000 to 7000K. 

Selecdng the correct white balance icon 
can be difficult to figure out, especially since 
our brain can play tricks on us. What our eye 
sees and what the camera captures can be very 
different when you are judging the light in a 
scene. For example, we may see white and our 
brain tells us it's white, but when we look at 
the photograph it may have recorded it as 
light blue or orange. If you want this look, 
great, but if you really want the pure white of 
a neutral, you're going to have to learn how to 
adjust white balance. 

With most DSLR cameras you can con- 
trol the white balance in several ways. One 
way is by going into the camera menu, or lo- 
cating a button, which will allow you to 
choose from icons representing sun, cloud, or 
shade. Depending on the situation under 
which you're photographing, this is where 
you would pick the appropriate icon. Most 
photographers shooting outdoors only need 
to use these three icon settings. 

The sunny icon represents approximate- 
ly 5200K. This setting will make your images 

appear neutral during the middle of the day 
(between approximately 10 A.M. and 4 KM.). 
The cloud icon, approximately 6000K, will 
work best in light shade where cool, bluish 
scenes need a bit of warming up to bring 
them to a more neutral setting. (When shoot- 
ing a sunrise or sunset, this is a good setting to 
choose.) The shade icon is approximately 
7000K and is a symbol of a house with shade 
on one side. It represents a very shady and 
thus cool, blue color temperature so it re- 
quires even more warmth to bring it to a neu- 
tral setting. 

Another way to adjust your white bal- 
ance is to go into the menu and find your 
Color Temperature setting. Here you should 
be able to select the exact number of Kelvin 
you want for the scene. This is really helpfiil as 
your learn to fine-tune your images. 

Not sure what to select? Then don't be 
afraid to experiment! Photograph the same 
situation using different icons and then using 
different Kelvin settings. You will learn how 
white balance affects neutral color on your 
digital camera! Happy Shooting! 

In the same light, I feel the sun setting 

worked best. What do you think? 

ISO 100, 1/40, f/4.5. ©Lynda Richardson 

32 VIRGINIA WILDLIFE ♦ www.HuntFishVA.conn 

n the Water 

by Tom Guess 

That Is All I Have to Say About That! 

It's amazing when you have children, how 
you see a vivid reflection oi yourself in 
them. You see that same fire in their eyes, their 
determination, and their passion for learning 
new things as they grow. The other thing you 
notice is that they want to be like you in many 
ways, but they also don't mind telling you 
when you are doing something wrong. 

How many times do you get in the car 
and if you don't buckle up right away they re- 
mind you? When you go a few miles an hour 
over the speed limit, do you hear a question 
from the back seat, "How fast are we going or 
are we in a hurry? " Children watch our every 
move and in many ways they act as our sub- 
conscious when we are doing something 
wrong or not paying attention. The reason 
they do this, in my opinion, is because we set 
the example for them and they in turn re- 
mind us of what we taught them! 

I am always very safety conscious when 
boating and often discuss boating statistics or 
issues while my children are around. 1 
thought for this issue I would ask my 9-year- 
old daughter Emily to write a few paragraphs 
on her thoughts about boating safety. Here is 
what she wanted to share with you: 

"When people boat they should probably 
know how to swim — that only makes sense if 
you are in a boat on the water. Also, when you go 
outonaboatyou must wear your life jacket all of 
the time. If you don't wear it and you fall in the 
water, you might drown. It's a good idea to boat 
with someone else and not go alone so that if you 
fall off of your boat someone will know. It's also 
dangerous to drive while drinking beer because 
you could crash or go to jail! When you drive your 
boat, you really need to watch where you an 
going and not play ivith your GPS because you 
might hit something. Be safe when you boat and 
wear your life jacket! Tlmt is all I have to say 
about that!" 

I filled up with pride as I read Emily's 
thoughts that were neatly jotted down in col- 
ored pencil. Her words really put the issue in 
simplest terms the way only a child can put it. 
What amazes me most is her keen ability to 
make sense of a topic that is so simple to un- 
derstand, yet so complex to convey to so 
many boaters who either don't think about 
their own safety or just don't seem to care. 
That carelessness results, on average, in some 
20 fatalities annually in Virginia that are the 
direct result of someone not being safe on the 
water while boating. 

Thank you for allowing me to share my 
thoughts and stories with you again this year; 
it's been a pleasure! Until next time, remem- 
ber: Be Responsible, Be Safe, and Have Fun! 

Tom Guess, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret), serves as the state 

boating law administrator at the DGIF. 

SEPTEMBER 201 1 ♦ 33 


by Ken and Mono Perrotte 
Skewered, Sauteed, and Seared - Doves are a Treat 

Getting to savor the delicate, flavorful meat of doves 
is an early fall reward. Finding recipes for grilled 
dove breasts, ofiien wrapped in bacon with a hot pepper 
tucked inside, is easy. We certainly enjoy them that way 
but suggest some other preparation options. 

Preparation note: Tlie following simple recipes all in- 
volve boning out the breasts and marinating the meat for 
about 30 minutes in a mixture of olive oil, salt, and pep- 
per. This is the first step in each of the recipes. Each recipe 
provides portions for 2 or 3 people. 

Pan-Seared with Wine Sauce 

6 dove breasts ( 1 2 pieces) 

3 tablespoons flour 

1 Vi tablespoons butter 

Va cup dry red wine 

1 small rosemar)' sprig 

1 small marjoram sprig 

Vi bay leaf 

Va teaspoon cracked black pepper 

Va cup beef broth 

1 tablespoon flour 

1 tablespoon butter, softened 

Drain excess olive oil off the 
meat and lightly dust with 
flour. Heat butter to foaming 
in a pan over medium heat. 
Add dove breasts and cook 
until brown on both sides. 
Remove, cover with foil, and 
keep warm. Ilie doves will be 
a little rare, but will continue 
cooking while resting. Don't 
overcook these delicate 

I^eglaze the pan with wine. 
Add seasonings and cook for 
a minute over mcdiimi-low heat. Add broth and continue 
cooking, reducing the liquid, for about five minutes. Taste 
and correct seasonings. If, for some reason, the mixture 
tastes a little sour, just add a pinch of sugar. Remove the 
seasoning sprigs and bay leaf In a small bowl, whisk soft- 
ened butter and flour. Whisk this mixture into the sauce a 
little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Serve 
doves nested atop wild rice with sauce on the side. 

Doves with Cream Sauce over Noodles 

6 dove breasts ( 1 2 pieces) 

2 tablespoons flour 

Va teaspoon papriki 

2 tablespoons butter, divided 

Vi cup chopped onions 

1 cup sliced mushrooms 
Vi cup dry white wine 

2 tablespoons chicken stock (bouillon is fine) 

2 teaspoons chopped parsley 
Va teaspoon chopped roseman,' 
Va teaspoon cracked black pepper 
1 tablespoon flour 

1 tablespoon butter, softened 

3 tablespoons heav)' cream 

Drain excess oil off the meat and lightly dust with flour and 
paprika. Heat 1 tbsp. butter to foaming in a pan over medi- 
um heat. Add dove breasts and cook until brown on both 
sides. Remember, dont overcook! Remove and keep warm. 

In the same pan, add the other tablespoon of butter, 
and cook onions and mushrooms over medium heat until 
soft. Add wine, stock, and seasonings; increase heat to medi- 
um high and cook for a minute. In a small bowl, whisk to- 
gether the softened butter and flour. Whisk this flour and 
butter mixture slowly into the sauce, adding only until you 
achieve a desired light, creamy consistency. Add the cream 
and doves, stir one more time, and cook until heated. Serve 
over egg noodles. 

Skewered Doves 

Dove breasts, de-boned 

Sweet yellow peppers 

Sweet onions 

Whole white mushrooms 

Large seedless grapes 

Roasted, firm red peppers (pre-cooked, available in jars) 

Any other favored fruits or vegetables on hand (zucchini, 

mango, pre-cooked baby potatoes) 

Slice peppers and onions into pieces about 2 inches square. 
Ihread a couple of pieces of each listed ingredient onto 
skewers (if using wood skewers, soak first in water for a few 
minutes). Double over the breasts on the skewer and use the 
whole mushrooms and grapes. Brush with reserved mari- 
nade and sprinkle on a little more fresh ground pepper and 
sea salt. CinW until meat is medium rare to medium. Serve 
atop bed of wild rice. 





Photo Contest Reminder 

The deadline for submitting photographs 
forthe2011 W/g/'n/fllV/M/fe Photography 
Contest is November 2, 201 1 . 

Winning photographs will appear in 
the special March 201 2 issue of the maga- 
zine. For more information about the con- 
test and to view last year's edition online, 
visit the Department's website at: 



^^^^^ ^^% 



^tPOKM^ *i 



Bound Editions 2010 

A Great Gift at $26.75 
Call (804) 367-0486 for details 

2011 Limited Edition Virginia Wildlife 
Collector's Knife 

Our customized 201 1 Collector's Knife is a Model 1 1 9 Special 
Buck kriife which features a black bear. The handle is made 
from diamondwood with an aluminum guard and butt. Blade 
is 420HC steel. Knives and boxes, made in USA. 

Item M VW-41 1 $95.00 (plus $7.25 S&H) 

To Order visit the Department's website at: or call (804) 367-2569. 

Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery. 

Don't miss our next special exhibit: 




Open |une 4, 2011 
to January 14, 2012 

Presented by: 



Virginia Museufri oj 


21 Starling Avenue • Martinsville, VA 24112 276-634^^141 
Visit www.vmnh.n for more information. 

Download the FREE DGIF Hunt Fish VA iPhone® App 
Available on the App Stores^ visit 

Magazine subscription-related calls only 1-800-710-9369 ♦ Annual subscription for just $12.95 

All other calls to (804) 367-1 000; (804) 367-1 278 HY 

©John R For. 



Don^t get left out 

Pick one up for yourself 
and others on your holiday 
gift list. Where else can you 
get such a deal, at only 
$10 each? 

The 201 2 calendar features 
stunning photographs and 
information about hunting 
seasons, favorable fishing 
dates and state records, 
wildlife behavior, and more! 

Send your check payable to 
"Treasurer of Virginia" to: 
Virginia Wildlife Calendar 
P.O. Box 1 n 04 
Richmond, VA 23230-1104 

To pay by VISA or MasterCard, 
you may order online at 
on our secure site. 
Please allow 4 to 6 weeks 
for delivery.